Resolving Conflict

Couple - Relationship, Divorce, ArguingHow do you resolve conflicts amicably with your spouse? Well, assuming you don’t have irreconcilable differences you can still walk away undamaged as well as your friendship intact by using “friendly fighting” language and choosing your timing appropriately.

Additionally, it helps to in terms of keeping your connection to have regular “check in” marker points like holding a quarterly inspection for your business to evaluate how things are going. Building a regular “check up” as part of the health of your connection adds that extra bit of insurance for those times when you’re faced with disagreements.

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In terms of the art of conflict resolution itself, it is important to first recognize that there are various sorts of conflict. There is problem solving for problems that arise when perhaps 1 spouse must work a different schedule unexpectedly and you’re suddenly faced with a problem around child care, so you’ve got to figure out what you can do next time to avoid last minute panics. This could be an example of a “solvable problem”.

In fact, most problems can be solved. Then you have what’s known as a “perpetual problem” within the relationship which lingers in 1 form or another. Surprisingly, this also is normal in many relationships. It interesting to note, however, that a certain problem one couple readily solves may become gridlock and a perpetual problem for another couple.

Let’s go into a really quick and simple example of gridlock — money being the most frequent source. I’ll use one of my clients as an example. She wanted her husband to start paying the bills, because she was getting tired of always doing it herself. She also felt that he needed to know something about their finances because if anything ever happened to her, he wouldn’t know what to do.

Yet from the time they were newlyweds he had never shown any interest their finances, even though he would promise whenever she asked him to get involved. So over the years this pattern of guarantee rather than delivering developed to a perpetual issue. He would say he would take care of things, but he did so according to his own timeframe and so the bills were never paid on time.

As a result, this caused a great deal of resentment and animosity within the relationship. Month after month they’d fight about it, and he would always guarantee that he’d do it differently next time. But he ran out of next times and his wife finally ended up taking the job back from him and doing it herself.

Yet when you realize that a problem is coming up over and over again on your relationship, you also need to start asking yourself, “Is this really worth it?”

If you know your partner is unlikely to ever change in a specific area, perhaps you have to decide to accept his idiosyncrasy and start focusing on strengths he’s in other areas. She had to be ready to live with her continued resentment and the reality that this perpetual problem, if she did not let go of it, would fuel more arguments in future and even increased gridlock. She decided that she would rather save her marriage and accept his disinterest in finances.

So, for those who have an issue which appears to be performed over and over again in your relationship, you may choose to take some time out and decide whether it may just be part of your partner’s personality. Often, it is that they just don’t have the same emotional investment in that area as you do.

From her private practice in Encino, California, she has become a trusted resource for countless couples world-wide (including Hollywood celebrities) for over 22 years. This wealth of experience along with her engaging presentation style has made her an in demand speaker among Fortune 500 companies and special interest groups worldwide. She is also a certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist and a Member of the Gottman Relationship Clinic.

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